# Math and second systems effect

I think math is suffering from second-system effect. Right from 7th grade onwards, kids are taught about symmetric functions and whatnot but are rarely told where they become useful. And as years go by and as the kid advances in school, additional baggage is added to a point where the sole purpose of this ordeal, at least in my opinion, is to torture the kid into oblivion.

This semester I have graph theory at school. Graph theory is one of
those things that feels like reading a quick start manual --- almost
everything taught has some *real* and actionable purpose. Which is
pretty cool. Now this isn't because of some magical trait of the subject
itself, it's just that my 7th grade garbage is finally seeing some
usage. Also, it's amazing how we spend years learning how to *read*
math. I get it. Mathematical logic can't have any exceptions and should
hold true in all cases. So a perfect language to describe the perfect
system. Sound familiar?

Now it can be argued that math has been very successful to a point where entire fields of studies have been born out of it. But very few subjects are as notorious as math is. Another case in favour of its complexity is that the field is hundreds, if not thousands, of years old and the knowledge accumulated over such a long period will be inevitably complex. This is a valid point, but it doesn't make the learner's life any easier.

In my opinion, a peek into the useful aspects of math occasionally should provide sufficient motivation to pursue its study. Mindlessly reading specification after specification without ever understanding its intended purpose will only serve to demotivate the learner.

I could never do math. I always taught I wasn't cut out for it and so it has never been my thing. But this recent experience makes me wonder if math is plagued by second-system syndrome and, at least in my case, collapsed under its own weight.

But then again, I might simply lack the lobes for it :)